History of Oregon by Oregon Historical Society
homeSection 6Subtopic: Winter Sports...
Subtopic : Post-Industrial Years: 1970-Present: Winter Sports

Themes: Social Relations, Arts

  featured image  

Ray Peoples Skate-sails at
Public Rink, Bend, 1949
OrHi 104893

Winter sports in the Cascades began with the Scandinavian lumber workers who came to central Oregon from the Great Lakes States and from Europe. Lumber workers Nels Skjersaa, Emil Nordeen, Nils Wulfberg, and Chris Kostol are credited with forming the Bend Skyliners mountaineering club in 1928. Both Shevlin-Hixon and Brooks-Scanlon nurtured the Skyliners since their employees were active in the club, and the club had a major presence in the community. Brooks-Scanlon publicist Paul Hosmer even provided the name “Skyliners.” The Skyliners sponsored races, conducted mountain rescues, and promoted competitive skiing. 

During World War II, Americans learned a great deal about European mountaineering through combat in the Alps. The Army created the 10th Mountain Division as an elite force of ski-troopers.  Veterans of this organization influenced the winter sports business throughout the United States after the war. One of these men was Bill Healy, who had skied in the Cascades prior to his service with the 10th Mountain Division. Healy moved his furniture business from Portland to Bend and became active in the Skyliners. In 1957, Healy and other investors began developing a ski area on Bachelor Butte. 

In the 1960s and 1970s, the Bachelor Butte ski area prospered through good management and consistently good snow conditions. Competitive skiers from other parts of the United States discovered Bachelor Butte as an excellent training area.  The Skyliners program prospered as well, training local skiers to become prominent national and international competitors. Frank Cammack, Skyliners coach and Brooks-Scanlon lumber broker, nurtured the early careers of Olympic skiers KiKi Cutter, Jean Saubert, Mike Deveka, and others. The increasing visibility of central Oregon as a recreation area drew new residents and businesses. Bend’s population grew from 15,000 in the mid-1970s to 50,000 by the end of the century, making Deschutes County one of the fastest-growing counties in the West.

© Ward Tonsfeldt & Paul G. Claeyssens, 2004.

Themes: Social Relations,Arts

Regions: Central Oregon

Date: 1928-1980

Author: Ward Tonsfeldt & Paul G. Claeyssens

Winter sports in the Cascades began with the Scandinavian lumber workers who came to central Oregon from the Great Lakes states and from Europe.

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